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Holiday rules in the Netherlands

20.06.2023

Employees are entitled to leave. Not everyone uses the entire vacation, often part of the vacation days remains in reserve. How to take the required vacation days in accordance with the laws of the Netherlands? Does your employer have the right to refuse you vacation? To correctly answer these questions, you need to know the procedure for calculating vacation days and the rules for providing rest for unused vacation days.

How are vacation days calculated?

According to those in force in the Netherlands rules the employee is entitled to a number of vacation hours four times the length of his working week. If you work 25 hours a week, your vacation must be 100 hours, that is, at least four working weeks.

Pay attention! The terms of the employment contract may provide for additional holidays. Such vacations are called overtime. Saved days of excess leave are subject to different rules for their return.

During the vacation, the employer pays the employee wages. If an employee falls ill while on vacation, he must notify the employer: sick days are paid according to the sick leave, and the employee retains the right to leave from the employer for the number of sick days. If the employee is on unpaid leave and falls ill, these days are not reimbursed to him, except in the case of being on maternity leave or additional parental leave. If an employee is not on vacation and falls ill, during the period of illness, vacation days are accrued to him. Leave is also accrued while the employee is on maternity leave.

How to use vacation days?

As established in the Netherlands rules, in principle, the employee can ask for leave at any time, and the employer must grant it. However, the employer has the right to refuse to grant leave within the time specified by the employee if he has good reasons related to important issues in the functioning of the company. The employer does not have the right to refuse vacation in general, but the vacation can be postponed.

Usually, leave must be granted during the year for which it is accrued. If this was not possible, the right to use the saved vacation days remains for six months, that is, you must use all vacation days for the past year before July 1 of the current year.

Important! In some cases, the right to receive unused vacation days is retained for 5 years.

Such cases include:

  • The inability to go on vacation during the year for which it is accrued, due to illness or because the employer did not let you go,
  • The presence of excess vacation days established by your employment contract.

By agreement with the employee, the employer can pay them instead of providing vacation days.

How to assign vacation days to certain dates?

In small companies with warm friendships in the team, sometimes it is possible to get a vacation quickly. But according to the current rules, the employee is required to submit a written application for leave at least 2 weeks before the planned start date. Theoretically, the employer must agree, but may refuse, citing important reasons related to the functioning of the enterprise.

Additional maternity leave must be requested 4 weeks before the planned start date. In the event of a premature birth, this rule is waived, but the employee is obliged to inform the employer about the leave at the earliest opportunity.

If you have a labor conflict and you do not know how to resolve it, get advice from our experts.

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